Deli owner charged in lottery ticket scam

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — A Long Island deli owner and his son were charged Saturday with scamming a customer out of a $1 million lottery ticket.

Nassau County police say a 34-year-old man who doesn’t speak English bought the ticket Thursday at the Peninsula Deli &Grocery in Hempstead.

The man scratched off his card, saw that he was a winner and handed it to 26-year-old Karim Jaghab to get his winnings, police said.

The ticket was worth $1 million, but Jaghab gave the man $1,000 in cash and kept the ticket, police said.

The customer became suspicious and went back Friday, police said. They say Jaghab and his 57-year-old father, Nabil Jaghab, the owner of the deli, tried to give him $10,000 and told him not to go to the police, authorities said. The customer went to police, who determined that he had won the $1 million jackpot.

The Jaghabs, of East Meadow, were arraigned Saturday on grand larceny charges. Each was ordered held on $7,500 bond. According to Newsday, their attorney said it was a simple mistake on a payout on a lottery machine.

A similar case unfolded in Suffolk County this year when two Riverhead gas station clerks and the brother of one of the clerks were charged with scamming a customer out of a $74,892 prize.

In that case, police said the clerks gave the man $774 in cash. As with the Nassau case, the victim was an immigrant who speaks no English.

In another case in Syracuse, two brothers who claimed a $5 million lottery ticket sold at their family’s store were charged with scamming the winning ticket from a customer in 2006. One brother was sentenced this year to up to 25 years in prison for possessing the stolen ticket; both brothers were acquitted of conspiracy charges.

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